Top Tips for Travelling with Your Dog


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Belinda Stancombe

Road tripping is always an exciting time, especially if you've got your furry best friend along for the ride! While it may be tempting to just jump in the car and get going, there are a few important things to remember to keep your dog safe and happy along the way.

Whether your dog is a seasoned traveller or not, see our vets top tips below on how to prepare for the trip ahead.


1. Do a Trial Run

If you have never travelled with your dog before, it's a good idea to do a couple of short car trips with them first. Some dogs love the car and will settle in quickly, while others may be anxious, unsettled, or even experience motion sickness. It is helpful, for you and your dog, to know what to expect before you leave, so you can prepare for a comfortable and stress-free trip.

2. Check The Fine Print

Before you head off, check that your dog is up to date with their annual vaccinations. Kennel cough is a highly infectious cough that your dog can develop if they're not protected or overdue for their vaccination. Another infectious disease called Leptospirosis is also prevalent in the northern parts of Australia, so if you're travelling up that way speak to your vet about a vaccination course prior to leaving.

Microchipping can save a lot of worry if you become separated from your pet during your travels, so ensure that all your details are up to date prior to leaving. An Identification tag or GPS Tracker is good idea to have attached to your dog's collar for extra security

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3. Leave The Nasties Behind!

Depending on where you are travelling to, it's important to make sure your dog is protected against parasites such as ticks. If you are travelling along the East Coast of Australia, ensure that they are protected against paralysis ticks, which can be deadly. The Brown Dog Tick, while not harmful itself, can transmit tick-borne diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial disease that recently occurred in Australia. Ticks are reported to be most active during Spring and early Summer, however year-round protection is recommended in high risk areas.

Products that Kill or Repel Ticks: Simparica Trio, Bravecto, Simparica, Seresto, Nexgard, Nexgard Spectra and The Big 5.

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4. Safety First

To keep your dog safe while travelling, it's important that they are restrained appropriately. This prevents injury if you brake suddenly or are involved in car accident. It also prevents them from jumping out if the car windows when open. While it may be easy to watch all the funny and interesting things our dogs do, distraction by an unrestrained pet can easily become dangerous.

There are a wide range of different restraint devices and car accessories available to keep both your dog and your car seats protected. A travel crate can help keep your dog contained and feeling safe in their own little den. There is also a range of dog harnesses, booster seats and other car restraints, suitable for all sized dogs. For a large dog or an older friend who has difficulty getting into the car, try a dog ramp to make it easy for both of you.

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5. Calming Aids and Nausea Remedies

Not all pets enjoy car trips and for some, it can actually be a significant source of anxiety. If this sounds like your dog, there is a range of calming aids that may help. It is a good idea to try these well in advance of the main trip to see which one works best for your pet.

Pheromones play an important role in managing anxiety disorders in some dogs. Adaptil collars continuously release an appeasing pheromone to promote feelings of calm in dogs, and are perfect for use when travelling.

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If your dog suffers from motion sickness, Natural Animal Solutions Traveleze contains a combination of natural ingredients such as ginger, withania, and chamomile to help to ease nausea. This products is a liquid which can be easily administered orally or onto the food. Your local veterinarian can also provide advice and dispense prescription medication for dogs who suffer from motion sickness.

If your dog is prone to motion sickness reduce the likelihood of a messy trip by avoiding feeding them in the car and ideally feed them at least two hours prior to departure.

6. Car Snacks and Tasty Treats

Everyone loves a snack (or three!) on a long road journey - and it's no different for your dog! Pack a handy supply of no mess treats in the car for your furry companion. Treats have multiple benefits - aside from simply making your pet happy, treats can also help with obedience, provide distraction in times of stress, and can even help with anxiety!

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7. Travel Accessories and Essentials

For compact packing with no mess, consider investing in a Travel Bowl and Travel Water Bottle. Travel feeding accessories can really help save you space while packing, ensuring you can provide your dog fresh water and food wherever you are (and without having to carry bulky and heavy bowls!).

Other travel accessories include a Travel Bed, Dog Wearable Travel Pack, Life Jackets, Pet First Aid Kits and a Dog Coat or Jumper.

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Travel Essentials Checklist

8. Stop, Revive, Survive!

If you're in for a long trip, frequent breaks will be good for the both you and your dog. Stopping every two hours will help you recuperate and give your pooch a much needed bathroom and play break. Enjoy your travels!

Further Reading

Flying With Your Pets

Flea, Tick and Worming Guide for Dogs

Pet First Aid Tips

Teaching Your Dog To Enjoy Swimming

Your Guide To Using Adaptil

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